Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani
May 13, 2015 – Tu Books
368 Pages – Young Adult, Fiction, Suspense, Japanese, Diverse,
Purpose: Personal choice, A diverse read
From Goodreads: Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.
Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.
So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.
Wow! There are so many awesome things to say about this book that I’m not quite sure where to start. I picked this for a diverse read. I that I was going to be getting a good story since it was published by Tu Books. (In case you didn’t know, Tu Books focuses on diverse young adult science fiction.)
This was a great glimpse in Japanese culture. This had depth, meaning and connection. ot was wan’t overwhelming , but it also didn’t feel as if it was just placed in the story as window dressing. This actually had everything that I could want in a good book: characters that I liked and cared about, suspense and mystery that had me guessing all the way to the end, great pacing for the story and a heroine that I could believe in.
Claire Takata was not perfect, but, I think that is what made her character so believable. She was a bit whiny, and I hate to admit it, but most girls have thier whiny moments. She was also strong, brave and very capable of taking care of herself. Her position of being the only girl in a group of boys was fitting, somehow.
Lately, I’ve been having trouble with romance in YA, but I am glad to say that it worked in this book. Not everything that happened was your run of the mill stuff. And everything wasn’t wrapped up nice and neatly. But… every question was answered, even if it was complicated.
Even though I focused on Claire, the other characters were well thought out and developed. They had their own quirks and endearing charms. I really enjoyed this work, and will be looking forward to more from this author.
5 stars *****